As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
Golden Anniversaries are becoming rare, a thing of the past. I’d like to thank my parents for the one simple thing they have done that has made their marriage last for 50 years. They both have chosen to be followers of Jesus, to make the One True and Living God the center of their lives and that has made all the difference in the world.
How do we explain marriages without God as the center lasting 50 years? Luck. That’s all. But I wouldn’t want a Luck marriage, there is no way it yields the same lasting effects like my parents’ marriage. Our family is living proof.
My parents taught us to trust God. Then, when we had opportunities to trust God on our own or not we saw that trusting God turned out to be a good thing. For instance, we moved into a huge house in El Cajon when I was 10. My parents’ bedroom was in a different city. The house made noises at night that were new to me and I often made my way to their room in the middle of the night to tell them I was too scared to sleep. They would always reassure me that God is watching over us. They would pray with me for God to comfort me and then they’d send me back to bed alone. It didn’t take long for me to just stay in my room and remind myself that God is watching me and pray for comfort by myself and then sleep like a baby. I could’ve kept going back to their room night after night. But I tried out what they had taught me, found it to be good, and believed it for myself. It’s not brainwashing to teach your kids about God, it’s really super good for them. Say I don’t know how to swim or something and my dad teaches me. The next time I jump in a pool I can depend on my own devices or try the strokes he showed me. Of course I would try the strokes he showed me and find more success in the pool with that than my dog paddling. Same thing.
My parents did not leave us to our own devices. They taught us what God thinks about stuff by reading the Bible to us and praying with us. And when we went out on our own we chose those things for ourselves. I don’t say this to brag about my parents or our character, but it is simply because of God’s goodness that me, my sister and brother never had a wayward period. All of us trust in the Lord. Our whole family. That isn’t 50 years of Luck. That is 50 years of God’s grace, 50 years of God’s faithfulness to my parents fulling the promise in Psalm 128.
And Psalm 128 happens to be my parents’ favorite scripture. It says:
How joyful are those who fear the Lord--
all who follow his ways! ...How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing
for those who fear him.
My dad has never failed to pray for each and every one of us every single day. We are safe and healthy and I don’t think that’s a coincidence or luck. And it doesn’t mean some trying times haven’t occurred. They have. My parents had lots of downs with their ups over the years. The point is, they keep praying anyway. And God has blessed them for that. He has blessed our whole family because of that, and I am so thankful.
If you spend time with our family you’ll see our faults and weakness too after not too long. The difference between our family and the “lucky” family is that God isn’t holding our sins against us. He excuses our sins because we believe in Jesus. Romans 3:22 says that we are made right with God simply by believing in his Son. And a family can’t do that if the parents don’t tell them. An entire family can’t reap God’s blessing if the parents leave the kids to their own devices.
Do you know why God uses the illustration of an olive tree in my parent’s favorite passage? Because olive trees are the oldest of trees. There are some still standing today in the Mediterranean region that are literally thousands of years old. That means the result for a godly couple is that they will always be with their kids. And my parents will. The fact that every single one of us is saved, that means we Believe Jesus forgives our sins, means that we will be in heaven together forever. An unending family. That is not luck. And I would choose the marriage with God in it over any other marriage every time! The luck marriage just doesn’t produce the same everlasting results.
Everyone of us has a say over what we do. It’s a lie to think that a marriage might not last. How can you stay with the same person that long? Marriage should be temporary. But you can make yourself stay married same as you can make yourself never rob a bank. It think it’s ironic that people in our day and age have no trouble bragging on how long they’ve been best friends with a person, “Oh, we go back 30 years!” But for some reason having the same spouse for that long or longer is an impossible thing?
My dad’s favorite thing to say about his engagement to my mom is a conversation she had with him before their wedding. She told him how divorce has been common in her family and that she would have not part in one ever. They’ve never ever joked about it or have ever threatened to leave in the heat of an argument. I don’t recall either one of them ever even driving off in a huff to cool off or anything like that. Divorce, leaving, was never an option for either of them. She may have been saying, “I’ll kill you before I divorce you,” I don’t know (hahahaha). But I do know that they understand marriage to be an illustration of how much Jesus loves the people who belong to him (Ephesians 5) and to ever leave each other would be misrepresenting Jesus to their kids and to the whole world.
I am so thankful for their faithfulness to God all these years. Not perfect, but definitely steady. I’m extremely thankful for the domino affect it has had on our entire family. And I know their marriage certainly has touched the lives of lots of other people too. If Jesus isn’t the center of your marriage or in your life at all, don’t go to bed tonight without asking him to forgive you for the wrong things you do. Don’t live another day on luck. Luck eventually runs out. But the promises of God last forever and ever.
I love seeing your promises come true. Thank you for giving me godly parents who chose to be faithful to share YOU with me and my whole family. I am so thankful for my parents, for their love, encouragement, generosity, faithfulness, and example to me my whole life. Thank you for blessing them in every way. It’s not luck. It’s you! And I just can’t thank you enough for their impact on my life. Amen!